The outcome of the 2022 midterm elections is a colossal disappointment for Republicans across the country. A massive Red Wave or electoral tsunami not only failed to materialize, but in the worst-case scenario, the Democrats will control the U.S. Senate.
This result is absolutely shocking for most political observers across the country. However, the warning signs were there, and other pundits, myself included, warned in early October that the GOP risked underperforming in the November elections.
Before examining the real reasons behind the underwhelming results of the 2022 election, we need to dispense with two bumptious claims advanced ad nauseum by establishment RINOs.
The first claim is that President Trump is to blame for the disappointing results. Admittedly, we can all spend months discussing this nonstop without a resolution.
Yet here is all you need to know: Donald Trump was on the ballot in 2016 and 2020. In both years, Republicans achieved historic gains in legislative contests. Claiming that voters only seek to punish Donald Trump when he is not on the ballot defies logic.
The second claim that must be laid to rest for once and for all is that the Dobbs decision hurt Republicans. According to a Gallup Poll, only 36% of Americans favor unlimited abortion access.
"Pro-choice" Republicans love to evoke the image of scores of suburban women fleeing the party over abortion but here is the stark reality against their wishful thinking. In New York, Republicans captured 10 congressional seats, nine of those 10 Republicans oppose abortion.
No one would confuse Lee Zeldin as a darling of NARAL, yet he came close to becoming governor in a state where abortion rights may be arguably viewed as sacrosanct.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair (DCCC) Sean Patrick Maloney savaged his opponent Michael Lawler on the issue of abortion. Nonetheless, it should have come as no surprise when Maloney lost his seat on Tuesday, the first DCCC Chair to do so in 40 years while running in a +10 Biden district.
Let’s look at the real root causes of one of the most embarrassing political meltdowns in recent memory.
1. Complacency Against an Onslaught: Many Republicans seemingly waited to run out the clock while Democrats unleashed scathing attacks accusing Republicans of wanting to gut Social Security and Medicare.
No one should have to explain to any Republican strategist that at a time when elected officials support massive aid overseas, a voter (regardless of whether they support foreign aid) will hardly be amused or receptive to the idea of cutting domestic benefits. Republicans must to move on from this canard.
2. Obsessing Over Student Loans: President Biden’s plan on forgiving student loan debt was poorly conceived and even his administration probably knew that it was on shaky legal ground.
Of course, and on cue, many Republicans couldn’t help but take the bait and make this a focal point, instead of concentrating on issues with broader appeal such as fighting inflation. Student loan debt is a topic on which public opinion is almost evenly split.
Instead of reaching out to voters concerned about the costs of college, too many Republican campaigns decided to use language that may have alienated younger voters.
The message should have been this: “Vote Republican because Biden is at fault for your guilt-ridden visits to the Supermarket and anxiety inducing trips to the Gas Station.” Instead, it became, “Vote Republican to make it even harder for your 35-year-old son to move out of your basement.”
3. Milquetoast Messaging Rears Its Ugly Head: In a widely circulated memo in September, the Republican National Committee urged candidates to transition away from discussing critical race theory and masking of kids. It advised against focusing on increasing domestic energy production.
Such a tactic may have been considered prudent by politicians who dream of returning to the days when Republican leadership remained blindly loyal to Chamber of Commerce objectives and little else.
Glenn Youngkin is governor of a blue state because of his crusade against the pernicious agenda of the CRT movement. Masking of toddlers has galvanized the electorate. A recent poll by Harvard found only 11% of parents think it helped their children while 40% believe it harmed them.
On the topic of energy prices, Republicans needed to be emphatic. The Republican message should have been “We will produce more oil and gas and cut your spending for those items.”
This was no time for Republicans to go wobbly. They got complacent and reluctant to do what was necessary to close out this election cycle with impressive wins like we did in 1994 and in 2010.
Republican voters are justifiably angry, confused, and sorely disappointed in these results. Weak Republicans who want to stay in leadership by trying to scapegoat Donald Trump and "pro-lifers" are in a for a rude awakening.
Nicholas Chamberas has advised good government advocacy groups, elected officials and political candidates on public policy matters as well as having served as a senior adviser on several prominent New York City campaigns. He holds a degree in Political Science and a Juris Doctor. Read Nicholas Chamberas' Reports — More Here.
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